Thursday, December 25, 2014

A child is born. A great light.

In a world where the forces of violence, ignorance and despair can make it difficult to perceive God's presence, we claim Isaiah's words as we welcome Christ our Light...

That's from a Christmas Eve devotion on Isaiah 9:2-7 by Jan Richardson in Disciplines 2014, the inspiration for this prayer. The morning headlines and evening news routinely feature the "forces of violence, ignorance and despair." Things were no different for the ancient prophets I read during Advent. Isaiah, Hosea and Zephaniah railed against those same forces, but they shared a long term vision for restoration. They saw a Light. The prophets (and Rev. Richardson) remind us to hold tightly to that vision, to that Light, to our hope in Jesus Christ.

Kind Father,

We reach back in time, three millennia, and give ear to Isaiah's prophecy:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you... 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. (from Isaiah 9:2-7)

That was a word of hope and freedom to a defeated, captive people. Today, we claim those verses for ourselves.

Hope for health, relationships, careers...our grandson! Freedom from our flaws - too many to list - and the difficulties we face.

And there's heavy duty hope...for eternal life, Jesus' reign and a restored creation.

Lord Christ, we too often slip into the darkness. Let us see your great light! And we will rejoice on this Christmas Day! Illuminate our lives with your Spirit, with your presence. Amen.